Roy Keane: “It is a big challenge and I am ready for it”
Keane joins manager Martin O’Neill’s backroom team at Nottingham Forest
Roy Keane: “I had great memories of my career here as a player, the club gave me my chance and I will always remember them for that.”
Roy Keane says he is delighted to be back at the City Ground after agreeing to link up again with former Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill in an effort to get the club, at which both men made their name as players, back to the Premier league for the first time in 20 years.
Keane had been widely expected to follow O’Neill to the club but a final decision had been delayed by some personal issues, it seems. The Corkman is also reported to have taken some time to weigh up whether he would be better to wait for an opportunity to take charge of a club again himself.
The 47-year-old was in the stands on Saturday as a Forest side heavily reshaped by O’Neill beat Wigan 3-1. After O’Neill sidestepped questions about Keane’s impending decision, Keane was at the club’s training ground on Monday morning to help oversee a session and iron out the outstanding detail of his return.
“I am happy to be back,” he told the club’s website afterwards. “Things moved pretty quickly over the weekend. It is nice to get the deal done and get involved this morning with the first session. I am looking forward to it, it is a big challenge and I am ready for it.”
Keane, who signed for Forest from Cobh Ramblers in 1990 and left three years later for a then British record transfer for of £3.75 million, played just over 150 games for the club, scoring 33 goals, before Manchester United recruited him and he remains hugely popular amongst the club’s supporters.
“Obviously, I had great memories of my career here as a player, the club gave me my chance and I will always remember them for that,” he said.
“But it is a different challenge now, a huge challenge ahead and I am in a different position, coaching the players. After 20 years out of the Premier League it will be tough. There are a lot of big clubs in the Championship fighting to get out of it.
“But when Martin got the job and gave me a shout, I thought that once a few things fell into place I’d be ready for it. We will give it a good go, I have huge respect for Martin and the club and it fell into place nicely.
“I have seen the team a number of times over the last year or two and it is going to be tough but hopefully, with one or two signings, a bit of luck we can hopefully be competing.”